My Days In D.C.

22 Sep

I’m back from spending five wonderful days in our nation’s capital. I had never been there before and was able to see many things I have only dreamt about for many years.

The purpose of my trip was two-fold. The main purpose was to partner with Campus Firewatch and promote fire safety issues on college campuses across the country.

On Thursday we kicked off the day with a press conference which included speeches by Congressmen, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and Joe Wilson of North Carolina.

The highlight was the speech given by Edye Smith, a parent like me, who lost her son in an off-campus house fire.

The second part of the day consisted of breaking up into groups of fire personnel, current college students, and parents.

My group visited staffers of Cong. Keith Ellison, Sen. Al Franken, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, all of whom represent my state of Minnesota.

We were able to convey the urgency of continued education on fire prevention, along with the need to offer incentives for landlords to improve their rental units by adding sprinklers.

There are currently two pieces of legislation that address both of these issues.

It was such a personal day for me. To be able to share the life of my daughter and share her picture with people who never knew her, six years after her death, just boggles my mind and brings me such happiness and peace.

My intention is to spend the rest of my life honoring her and to have the opportunity to work to improve the lives of today’s students is very comforting and rewarding.

And, it was also a wonderful opportunity to see first-hand the workings of our government. The fact that most people never have this kind of opportunity was always on my mind throughout the day.

On the second leg of my trip was spent with my daughter Anna and her best friend Stephanie. Roger and I consider Stephanie to be our unoffical third daughter.

We crammed alot of sight seeing into two full days. The weather was absolutely beautiful and we had a grand time. Here is a list of what we accomplished:

toured the Capitol, including the Rotunda

toured the Supreme Court (saw Judge Sotomayor’s new chair).

visited the Smithsonian to see a Lincoln exhibit, dresses of the First Ladies, and Julia Child’s kitchen.

We visited the White House and saw the First Dog, Bo Obama, out on his afternoon walk! (I was really hoping to see Barack or Michelle, but hey I’m happy we did get to see one member of the Obama family!)

We went to the top of the Washington monument where you can see the entire District as well as Virginia and Maryland.

We ate at a favorite hang out of the Obamas, Good Stuff Eatery, and enjoyed the best hamburger and fries I have ever had … and the beer was great too!

We spent most of Sunday the 20th at Arlington National Cemetery; we visited the graves of JFK, Robert and Ted Kennedy.

We also had amazing seats to watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I thought about Liz alot that day because it was the 6th anniversary of her death. It seemed fitting that we should spend the day at Arlington.

As we sat in the trolley waiting to start our tour we noticed that the gentleman sitting right next to me had a large butterfly tattoo on his forearm. We all smiled because we knew it was a sign that Liz was with us in spirit.

We returned home Sunday night, very tired, but very very happy.

To view pictures of the trip click on the links below.

My Day On The Hill – 9/17/09

Sightseeing Marathon – 9/18 – 9/20

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One Response to “My Days In D.C.”

  1. Edye Smith September 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    Hi Kim!
    I would have never seen this, but my son found it and sent me the link…. I have no idea how he knew about it.
    But I’m so pleased that you had a great visit to my home city. And even saw the First Dog!
    I love Arlington Cemetery, both my parents are buried there. It’s so beautiful and dignified.
    I didn’t know that it was the anniversary of Liz’s death. You were so composed when we were together on Capitol Hill. Whenever it gets close to Stephen’s anniversary I am a mess.
    I love that you saw the butterfly! Those are some of the things that keep us going, aren’t they?
    I am pleased to have met you, even though it was such a brief bit of time together.
    Thank you for your kind words about my talk. You know how difficult it was. Because we are sisters in this……..
    Love,
    Edye

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